Tùng Dương Hát Tình Ca

What? Tùng Dương sings ballad? Get the fuck outta here. That’s not his style. He’s going to butcher those beautiful standards. Fortunately, his new release turns out to be a wonderful surprise. He can handle ballad like a motherfucking crooner.

Tùng Dương Hát Tình Ca sets off with a slow jazz rendition of “Nhìn Những Mùa Thu Đi” (Trịnh Công Sơn). Half way through, the tempo kicks up a notch for a savory swing. As always, Tùng Dương pours out his heart and soul into the song. His approach, however, has changed. He completely left out his whimsicality. I kept expecting him to freak up the melodies, but he never did. Perhaps he took some clues from Thanh Lam whose ballad singing style was being condemned for over exaggeration.

Tùng Dương is smartened up to know when to refrain himself. His version of “Ngậm Ngùi” (Phạm Duy) is soulful without being theatrical. His use of falsetto is quite good. The technique is similar to what Bằng Kiều loves to apply in most of his performance. The different is that Tùng Dương doesn’t come across like a bitch. Too bad Phạm Duy didn’t get to hear this version before he passed away. He would have loved it.

From “Dư Âm” (Nguyên Văn Tý) to “Rồi Mai Tôi Đưa Em” (Trường Sa) to “Mùa Thu Cho Em” (Ngô Thụy Miên) to “Gửi Người Em Gái ” (Đoạn Chuẩn & Từ Linh) to “Thiên Thai” (Văn Cao), Tùng Dương cuts straight to the emotional core of the lyrics with the support of intimate acoustic accompaniment. While Hát Tình Ca showcases the soother side of Tùng Dương, the album is also a welcoming detour to keep his fans satisfied until his next gig. Word is out that he’ll be in France in May to record an album with Nguyên Lê. That collaboration is going to be a motherfucker of a match.